Salt Lake Bees outfielder Terry Evans was all set to have a rare night off on Thursday. Instead, he ended up being the hitting hero, pounding an 11th-inning walk-off home run to give the Bees a 3-2 victory over the Las Vegas 51s at Franklin Covey Field.
Evans wasn't in the starting lineup but was inserted when teammate Reggie Willits had to leave the game early due to a sore left wrist.
"I thought I was going to have the night off, but I ended up playing nine innings anyway," said Evans, a 2007 triple-A All-Star who hadn't hit a single home run this season until his lead-off shot to right-center in the bottom of the 11th.
"It's about time I hit one," said Evans of his home run. "I was wondering when I was going to run into one. It was tough, especially in this lineup because Sean (Rodriguez) has four, Matt (Brown) has four, Woody (Brandon Wood) has six. I was like, 'gosh, everybody is leaving me in the dust.' It took long enough, but it was a good one."
Salt Lake continued its best start in franchise history, improving to 13-1 on the year. Las Vegas, meanwhile, fell to 6-8. The 51s are 0-6 this season vs. the Bees.
"I was thinking Terry was due to hit one," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell. "He couldn't have picked a better time."
While Evans' homer ended the game, it was the Bees' strong pitching that kept them in it. Salt Lake starter Kasey Olenberger gave up just one run on five hits in six innings. Relievers Jeff Kennard, Henry Bonilla and Rich Thompson combined for nine strikeouts in nine innings, while giving up just one run.
The Bees, meanwhile, had just four hits on the night. They made the most of them, however, with Evans' homer and Kendry Morales' two-run double accounting for all the Salt Lake's scoring.
After the game Bees second baseman Sean Rodriguez was called up by the parent Los Angeles Angels for the first time. Pitcher Jason Bulger, who has spent time with the Bees in each of the past two seasons, was sent back down to Salt Lake to make room for Rodriguez.
The series against Las Vegas will conclude tonight at 6:30 when Bees RHP Giancarlo Alvarado (0-0, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start against Las Vegas's RHP Justin Orenduff (1-1, 5.79).
BEELINES: Wednesday night's shutout was the second for the Bees pitching staff this season. That's the same number Salt Lake had all last season ... Salt Lake entered Thursday's game with 100 runs scored, best in the PCL. Colorado Springs was second in the league with 87 runs ... At 13-1 the Bees are 12 games over .500. Last year, while winning the PCL's Pacific North Division title, the Bees never were more than 10 games over .500 ... Thursday's attendance was 3,533 on a chilly April night.